Hyderabad police booked the woman journalist for hurting the religious sentiments of Lord Ram devotees.(REUTERS File/Representative image)
Hyderabad police booked the woman journalist for hurting the religious sentiments of Lord Ram devotees.(REUTERS File/Representative image)

Hyderabad journalist booked for Facebook cartoon on Ram devotees

Swathi Vadlamudi said she had chosen the cartoon to express her views and it was her fundamental right to do so.
By Srinivasa Rao Apparasu | Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
UPDATED ON APR 17, 2018 05:27 PM IST

The Hyderabad police registered a case against a woman journalist for allegedly drawing a cartoon on her Facebook page insulting the devotees of Lord Rama and hurting the sentiments of the Hindus.

Following a complaint filed by Hindu Sanghatan president and advocate Kashimshetty Karuna Sagar on Monday, the Saidabad police registered the case against Swathi Vadlamudi, a journalist working with an English daily under Section 295 (a) of the Indian Penal Code (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or reli­gious beliefs).

Swathi, who draws cartoon in the social media as a hobby, drew a cartoon and posted it on her Facebook page on April 10, expressing her anguish over the sensational Kathua and Unnao rape incidents. In the cartoon, Sita is seen telling Lord Rama: “I am glad, I was kidnapped by Ravan and not by your bhakths.”

The cartoon went viral in the social media with thousands of likes and hundreds of shares on various platforms like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

Sagar took serious exception to Swathi’s cartoon. “There is nothing wrong in expressing her anger at Kathua incident and in fact, we, too, share her feelings. But where is the need draw Hindu gods into the incident? How does it bring justice to the rape victims? Assuming that a Hindu had committed the crime somewhere in Kathua, how is it justified to blame millions of devotees of Lord Rama?” he said.

He said he had lodged a complaint against her and also another woman Durga Malathi from Kerala, who also made a similar comment against Hindu gods in the social media.

Saidabad Inspector K Sattaiah said he had asked the complainant to produce the evidences against the accused. “We shall send notices to the accused and then, proceed with the cases legally,” he said.

Swathi said she had chosen the cartoon to express her views and it was her fundamental right to do so. “The cartoon has received thousands of likes and comments appreciating my expression. At the same time, it also received a lot of vulgar, cheap and abusive comments against me in different social media platforms. Now, somebody has filed a case against me. I am yet to get any notice,” she said.

The Hindu Mahasabha president said he had received threatening calls from some unknown persons after filing the complaint with the police against Swathi. “I also brought it to the notice of the police,” he said.

Telangana Union of Working Journalists president Allam Narayana and secretary Kranthi Kiran condemned the registering of case against the journalist for posting a cartoon in the social media. “It is nothing but infringing upon the freedom of expression of a journalist,” they said and demanded that the case be withdrawn immediately.

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